Yarn matters, and yes the pun is intended. A post about how the yarn you choose affects a given pattern.
Do I have to use the yarn a pattern calls for?
This is a bit of a loaded question. Like many of you, I buy or design a pattern and think, what yarn do I have in my stash that I can make XYZ? Because, otherwise, what is the purpose of having a stash. When making a pattern I never look further than the gauge swatch or yardage suggested.
Ultimately though, yarn matters, not all projects allow for the flexibility of craftual freedom of switching yarns. This is not to say that you absolutely cannot use another blend of yarn. I know, I know, I am now contradicting myself. What I should say is, It depends on the project you are making. Some patterns just don’t accept change as gracefully.
Preciously, in Socks Remade, I discussed changes you might make to a crochet sock pattern when changing the yarn. Of course, this does not mean that yarn matters for all projects. See, Secret Garden Dress.
What about yarn blends?
Yarn matters are complicated guys, there is no definitive answer. Based on many trials, I can tell you that changing yarn blends depends on the blend the pattern was designed with. If a pattern was designed for a 100% cotton fingering weight yarn, using a fingering weight wool yarn is not advised. See, cotton doesn’t stretch or have the same memory wool does. An example of this is when I tried to make the Aster Top by Marie Wallin (ravelry link). The Aster top was designed for 100% cotton yarn, and I attempted to make it with 75/25 wool and Nylon. Basically Non-stretchy material vs stretchy material.
I had in fact finished both front and back panels before it occurred to me that cotton and wool stretch differently. When I tried it on, it was 3 sizes too big… Switching from cotton to wool, not really recommended.
There are ways you can work around this of course. I tend to substitute wool yarns for a cotton blend. Something that will have drape and perhaps even a bit of memory but will still be cooler than 100 wool. Of course, this all depends on the pattern you are making. If you are adventuring with colorwork, wool yarns are usually the way to go. Why? Because you need the stickiness of the wool to hide your yarns.
Conclusion, You need to be very aware of how your yarn fibers behave and the pattern.
How does yarn affect the final piece?
Once more into the breach my friends. Having already expounded on how yarn matters, I still like to experiment. No really, I always try to see how a pattern turns out if the yarn is switched. Case in point, I wanted to crochet a second version of the Summer Fan Top using Daisy yarn from Knit One Crochet Too.
The aforementioned yarn is vastly different from the one I originally designed the top with. Let us start by comparing the fiber content. Autumn wind by Lotus Yarns is a cotton-cashmere fingering weight yarn. In each 50g you will get 175 yds of yarn. On the other hand, Daisy is classified as a sport weight yarn blend of Linen, Silk, and Hemp. No cotton or wool to be seen in this yarn blend.
Even though the yarns are classified as different weights, I used the same 3.5mm needle. Honestly, the yarns are so different that I do them both a disservice by comparing them. But my ultimate goal is to share with you how the same pattern worked up in 2 vastly different yarns.
I kept the construction of the garment the same. Same stitch, same hook, same number of rows. Once blocked the garment looked to be the same size as the og. However, once it was seamed together, It didn’t fit. The sleeves were too tight and did not allow for proper movement. In fact, the sleeve shaping from the original pattern did not in any way add to the fit of the garment or serve as decoration. But “a mal tiempo, buena cara.” Which basically means, you have a problem face it, move forward.
My first attempt at making the sleeves behave without ripping back the entire yoke, was to simply take back the sleeve shaping and try that out…. Nope. Before succumbing to a temper tantrum of epic proportions, I called in reinforcements. Essentially, I video called mindandmusecrafts, my mom. She had the very wise idea of simply ripping back the sleeve shaping and adding rows to what I had originally intended to be seamed.
This may not make much sense now, but wait!
Essentially what was once sleeve shaping, turned into neckline shaping, which worked pretty well with this yarn. Of course having added a total of 11 rows on either side, the yoke now sits lower than in the original pattern design. But allowances must be made to allow for yarny creativity.
Even though I didn’t alter the rows or the stitch count provided in the Original Summer Fan Top what I did alter changed the fit and look of the garment.
Have you ever had a project go totally haywire because of the yarn you chose?